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Time to Gear Up for NaNoWriMo 2011

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Time to Gear Up for NaNoWriMo 2011

    National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for all you crazy kids, starts today. Mike wrote yesterday about how to be mentally ready for NaNoWriMo, giving you the mindset to succeed. But what about the tools? Here is what gear you can use to get your 50k words down this November.

    The Shortlist

    Here are some of the great writing tools that I can’t recommend enough. These include tools for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.

    Evernote

    Evernote is the much-loved ubiquitous note taking, writing, and personal memory database tool that is used by millions on almost all platforms. Hell, they even have a version for the dying WebOS.

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    Anyways, Evernote provides the user with reliable syncing and ways for you to save photos and even voice notes to keep you going when writing this month.

    Simplenote

    If you don’t like the rich text-ness of Evernote, then Simplenote may be the tool for you to use this month. Simplenote is a plain text syncing service that can be used on the web, iOS, and Android. You can create any number of notes and tag them. Pretty simple.

    My only gripe is no “offline” access like you get with Evernote on the desktop.

    Text files coupled with Dropbox

    This has been my staple way of doing things for the last year or so on my iOS devices, Mac, Windows, and even sometimes Android. Basically using a simple text editor that allows access to a folder or set of folders in your Dropbox account.

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    So get yourself a Dropbox account (as if you don’t already have one) and try out one of these great plain text editing apps:

    Mac: Notational Velocity, NValt, BBEdit, TextWrangler, WriteRoom, Coda, Byword, iA Writer, macvim, TextEdit

    Windows: Notepad++, TextPad, E Text Editor, UltraEdit, Sublime Text 2, vim

    iOS: Elements, Notesy, PlainText, Nebulous Notes

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    Android: Epistle, Simple Notepad

    Scrivener

    And of course we can’t forget about using Scrivener, one of the best tools for planning, researching, and constructing long documents. Scrivener was first available only for Mac, but now you can get yourself a Windows copy (currently in beta). Scrivener is probably the tool that I will be using starting my 50k word journey tomorrow.

    Nice thing about Scrivener is that if you download it tomorrow you can get a 30 day trial which is just enough time to finish your work. As an added bonus, Literature and Latte (the company that makes Scrivener) will offer all NaNoWriMo “Winners” a 50% discount after they complete their 50k words. Nice touch.

    Tactical Tools

    So, you got your favorite text editor now and our ready to type your way to 50k. But, NaNoWrimo isn’t all about just text editors and typing. You need to have some strategies to complete your novel.

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    Timers

    Sometimes one of the best ways to hunker down and get some writing done is promising yourself to write for a certain amount of time. You can use some timers to keep track of your time and also force yourself to write.

    Probably one of the best ones is the free Adobe Air app focus booster because of its ease of use and simple interface. You can even try out focus booster – live if you don’t want to download anything. It is more of a Pomodoro technique tool, but you don’t have to buy into that idea to get some utility out of it.

    Reminders and motivation

    I am a huge fan of the site 750words.com and have used it over the past few months for motivation in writing. If you are in the NaNoWriMo running you will have to write 1667 words per day to get to your 50k. Having a site like 750words send you email nudges as well as a running word count at the bottom of your daily writing can definitely keep you motivated.

    Also, if you are feeling like your plot is running out of steam or that there is no way in hell that you can make it, you can always check out the NaNoWriMo forums for some inspiration. There is nothing better than looking through the forums and reading what some of these intelligent writers do to stay motivated and on point. And, if you have any advice to give to struggling writers, this is a good place to do it.

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    So, good luck in your 50k word adventure this November. Remember, there is no such thing as writer’s block. Keep your fingers moving and use some of the tips and tricks that we have provided you to make your way through this year’s NaNoWriMo.

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    CM Smith

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